Since 2013, millions of sea stars have died almost bringing them to extinction. When the disease called the Wasting Syndrome began killing them here on the Central Coast, within days of getting sick, starfish would literally melt away. For the past two years sea stars couldn’t be found, when only a few years ago they covered the pylons on piers and lived among the tide pools up and down the entire West Coast of the US. In late December 2017, sea stars were once again being spotted.
Our recent extreme low tides gave us an exciting glimpse deep in the tide pools of Avila Beach and Pismo Beach and it was exciting to see dozens of starfish for the first times in years!
But, they aren’t out of the woods yet. The mysterious disease hasn’t completely disappeared and it has started again on the coast of Washington. Scientists believe it is a virus, but no one knows where it started or how to stop it.
Our tide pools have a very delicate balance and we hope these new young sea stars remain strong and can fight off the disease. Don’t forget when visiting tide pools, never pick up sea stars, crabs, live sand dollars or any other tide pool animals, as well as plants, shells and rocks, where these animals make their home. Contrary to belief sea stars have eyes, they can live up to 35 years, and, they can feel pain. Sea anemones can live up to 80 years and they too along with sea cucumbers and other tide pool animals, can feel pain.
Photo and story by www.PhotoByVivian.com